Hotline mail bag: DEFCON 1 rearrangement scenario for Pac-12, WSU outlook, Ingram impact, Lake effect and more

06 Jun 2022 | 08:13

The hotline mailing bag is published every Friday. Send a question to or hit me on Twitter: @WilnerHotline. Due to volume – and in some cases, research needs – not all questions will be answered by the week of application. Thanks for your understanding.

Some questions have been edited for clarity and brevity.

If you were Washington, Oregon, USC and UCLA, would you like to lobby for a call to the Big Ten or the SEC for a “soccer-only” conference? – @ dsteven7

This problem has many layers, so let’s start at 50,000 feet and work our way down to solid ground.

The hotline has long believed that major college football will eventually split into two divisions:

– The upper echelon of 30 or 35 schools is willing to commit economically and make academic sacrifices to join what will essentially be a mini NFL (with players as staff).

– The remaining 80-90 schools prefer the traditional model.

Of course, the division above will be SEC-heavy and will likely include a few Pac-12 programs. But that’s obviously another 8 or 10 years, at least.

If the four schools you’ve referred want to contact the Big Ten or the SEC, their only short-term option would be to join those leagues as a football-only membership – not by affiliation. wider than in FBS.

Moving to 40,000 feet, we had a timing problem:

The SEC has locked-in membership and media rights contracts, with Texas and Oklahoma due to enter in 2025. Meanwhile, the Big Ten is wrapping up its media deals now – side deals. depends on knowing the structure of the conference.

Could something happen in the next 12-18 months that force the West Coast Quartet to leave the Pac-12? Sure. But we’re pretty confident that any current talk is just speculation.

And keep this in mind: It all starts with USC.

The Bruins wouldn’t go anywhere without the Trojan – and maybe not even with Trojan – and Pacific Northwest schools have little value to the Big Ten or the SEC as independent entities.

If you’re the SEC or Big Ten, expansion to the West Coast only makes economic and competitive sense if the Southern California media market is included in the deal. That means USC.

Also, the Pac-12 with USC is a lot better suited for Ducks and Huskies than the Big Ten or SEC without USC.

If those schools are disconnected from California, the consequences will be damaging on many fronts, especially academic links with Stanford, Cal, UCLA, and USC.

Closer to ground, let’s tackle a real challenge facing all four schools in their pursuit of SEC or Big Ten membership: the Olympic sports.

It is not realistic for their soccer, tennis and softball teams (named 3 teams) to gather around the country to compete.

That said, if the quartet joins the Big Ten or the SEC as football-only members, will their Olympic sports still be in Pac-12? Are they booted out? There will even be it is in a Pac-12?

At that point, the conference might fall apart…

– Arizona and Mountain schools will apply to join the Big 12.

– Bay Area schools may forgo college football.

– Oregon State and Washington State will be looking for a landing spot in FBS, with Mountain West likely topping their wish lists.

Now, let’s be absolutely clear: We don’t see this scenario as a realistic outcome in any way, shape or form…at least not for another 8 or 10 years.

Why not remove the two boring out-of-conference cupcake games from the Pac-12 football schedule? Would doing so help in negotiating a new TV contract? – @ TerryTerry79

My initial reaction was that not every team plays two “boring” non-conference games.

Colorado faces TCU, Air Force, and Minnesota this season.

Stanford plays BYU and Notre Dame.

Utah has the State of Florida and San Diego.

USC plays Notre Dame and Fresno State

Oregon plays Georgia and BYU.

(There are other examples in 2022 and annually.)

Are you proposing formal scheduling standards that require Pac-12 teams to only play Power Five opponents?

If so, there are two obstacles to that approach:

1) Stronger competition will inevitably lead to further losses and create a more challenging path to the four-team knockout.

2) Availability of Power Five opponents is limited. Not only is the schedule set for future years, but many schools in the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, and SEC won’t want to upgrade their non-conference lineups.

If the goal is to eliminate cupcakes for every Pac-12 team each year, there’s only one choice: Play the 10th conference game.

Hotline believes that model is worthy serious Consideration.

It will add value to the Pac-12’s inventory of vehicle rights in the next contract cycle (starting in 2024) while theoretically causing limited damage in competition.

After the knockout round expands to 12 teams into the 2026 season, there will be room for teams to lose two or three.

Implementation of scheduling standards – or a 10th conference game – will likely not be well received on the front lines, where job security is tied to wins and losses.

To the best of our knowledge, only one head coach has publicly supported the concept of every Power Five school playing at least 10 games against Power Five opponents: Nick Saban.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to play the playoffs when the top-ranked Pac-12 teams in the penultimate playoff committee rankings compete for the championship instead of the top-ranked convention teams? I can easily picture the committee ranking a team with a tougher lineup against a team with an extra conference win.— Jon Joseph

In fact, based on headline game participants on the CFP leaderboard, was one of the options discussed before the Pac-12 decided the conference win rate.

However, there was resistance on many fronts, including:

– Delegate such an important decision to outside observers.

– Allow out-of-conference implementation to impact the process (due to scheduling differences).

– Reduce the impact of confrontation results.

– The logistics of the decision.

The CFP’s penultimate rankings were released on Tuesday, too late in the week for the Pac-12 to set up a championship match three days later.

Imagine a situation in which one team is ranked in the top 10 – the key to the championship – while the two teams line up close to each other in the teens, creating uncertainty about the order of the dissection until afternoon. Tuesday.

That would be a competitive disadvantage for the top ranked team, who had to spend 72 hours preparing to face either opponent.

We all know Jimmy Lake is the reason hiring is so appealing to Washington, but do you think Kalen DeBoer can turn the tide? – @therealericyang

Two immediate thoughts:

Last month’s acquisition of commitment from four-star Bay Area recipient Rashid Williams is an important development for Huskies, who are in dire need of a compelling recruitment win to spark momentum.

– Recruiting success (for every team) in the age of name, image and popularity depends on increased engagement and the aggressiveness with which sponsor collectives are willing to execute NIL deals to the prospects of high school.

Schools – erroneously, collectively – must not use NIL opportunities as a recruiting engine, but many are doing exactly that and all Employers care, first and foremost, with their earnings potential.

Harrison Ingram returned to Stanford basketball, but coach Jerod Haase remained in the coaching hot seat. Should we expect next season’s results to be different from the 2021-22 season? – @joshfried

The pressure on Haase is simply a result of the results:

He was hired in the spring of 2016 and has yet to take Stanford to the NCAA Tournament.

He gets paid to win, and he doesn’t win.

That said, Ingram’s return is the best HR news Stanford has received in years. The sophomore forward should be one of the top players in the conference and give the Cardinals a high score in tandem with the returning winger Spencer Jones.

But given the history of the Haase era, Stanford fans should take a cautiously optimistic view and prepare for something that stands in the way of progress.

How much should I bet for Washington State to win the North? – @Ron_Pasco

First, we should remind our readers that winning the North in 2022 does not provide a competitive advantage. Conference records, not divisional affiliations, will determine which teams meet for the championship.

In fact, the Pac-12 could eliminate the split entirely before the season even begins.

Are Cougars good enough to qualify for the title game?

I would rank them on the third level:

Level 1: Utah and USC

Level 1A: Oregon

Part 2: Washington State and UCLA

We wouldn’t rule out WSU competing for the championship, but it’s not one of the most likely scenarios.

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